Tigerville, SC – The North Greenville University offense scored a season-high 35 points on 478 total yards while the defense held Wingate to just 283 total yards, while accumulating nine sacks in a 35-28 defeat of the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon in Younts Stadium to claim the team’s third straight win.
After Wingate received the opening kickoff, sophomore defensive back Taylor Anderson intercepted a pass on just third offensive play of the game and returned the ball 45 yards for a touchdown to put North Greenville ahead 7-0 with just over 13 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
However, on the ensuing drive, the Bulldogs used a 10-play, 68-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Robbie Nallenwag to Bryan Caffrey to even the score at 7-7 with 8:27 left in the opening quarter. Wingate went ahead by a score of 14-7 after Andrew Nallenwag scored from two yards out to cap off a 7-play, 28-yard.
The lead was short-lived as North Greenville opened the second quarter with a 8-play, 65-yard drive that tied the score at 14-14 when freshman running back Darius Paulk scored his third rushing touchdown of the season from one yard out as the two teams went into the halftime break even on the scoreboard.
North Greenville’s first drive of the second half ended abruptly when a Bulldog defender intercepted a pass and returned it 10 yards to the NGU 10-yard line. The Bulldogs quickly marched into the end zone with a 3-play, 10-yard drive as R. Nallenwag and Caffrey connected again to give Wingate a 21-14 lead with 12:14 remaining in the third quarter.
The Crusaders evened the score at 21-21 on the very next series as freshman quarterback Nelson Hughes and junior wide receiver Freddie Martino hooked up on a 40-yard touchdown pass to end a 3-play, 64-yard drive.
The final quarter of play belonged to the Crusaders as Hughes threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this time to senior wide receiver Sean Wright, from 16-yards out and senior wide receiver Taylor Malphrus scored on the ground from one-yard out, before Wingate’s Chris Bowden caught a pass from R. Nallenwag to make the final score 35-28 in favor of North Greenville.
Paulk recorded his third 100-yard rushing performance of the season and second in the last three weeks, gaining 153 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown. Hughes completed 16-of-25 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns while also adding 58 yards on the ground. Senior wide receiver Troy Jones was the team’s leading receiver, catching three passes for 63 yards, while Martino recorded three receptions for 57 and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, AJ Jones totaled 12 tackles in the game. Senior defensive back Isaiah Johnson and junior linebacker Braelen Meredith each recorded nine tackles of their own. Meredith coupled his nine tackles with two tackles for loss and one sack, while senior defensive lineman Stefan Bynoe totaled seven tackles in the game, including four tackles for a loss and tying the school-record for sacks in a game with four on the afternoon.
The Crusaders (4-6) will host Virginia University of Lynchburg on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 1:30 p.m. in Tigerville as they honor their seniors and the military in the final game of the 2012 season.